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Friday, September 03, 2010
AMD Explains Decision To Drop ATI Brand

AMD's Corporate Vice President John Volkmann wrote down his thoughts on the company's decision to jettison the "ATI" brand name from its graphics products.

Last week AMD announced plans replace the "ATI" brand with "AMD" across its Radeon graphics family, starting in the fourth quarter of this year. The news surprised many ATI fans and many journalists and editors were positioned against the decision.

John Volkmann is Corporate Vice President - Corporate Brand at AMD believes that processor brands (CPUs and GPUs) are largely irrelevant in the PC buying decision. AMD's research confirmed that the average PC buyer was unaware of what processors are under the hood of their PC. "This is why we invest very little in 'brand-building' with the mainstream market segment," he said.

"And, it's why we launched our VISION Technology program. If you want the most visually-compelling PC experience for your money, you want the one with the VISION sticker on it. If you're a retail sales associate, everything you need to know is on that sticker. The VISION brand is simple and memorable, and it's focused on what people are trying to do with their PC, not what is in it. For that reason VISION is a big hit across the industry," he added.

Earlier this year, AMD asked over 4,000 "graphics processor aware" individuals in seven countries which brands they know about, consider and prefer.

The results showed that the "Radeon" brand was as strong as any other product or company brand in terms of awareness and consideration, Volkmann said.

In addition, AMD claims that preference for the AMD brand is stronger against the competition than the ATI brand.

"This isn't to say the ATI brand isn't strong - it says that enthusiasts assign higher brand preference to the AMD brand. And it is a nice complement to the Radeon-related finding mentioned above," he added.

Volkmann also said that those who knew that AMD and ATI merged scored their brand preference for AMD three times higher than those who were not aware of the merger. "In other words, if you know we are one company, you believe in us more. On the other hand, by keeping the brands distinct, we were actually limiting or handicapping our own brand strength"

"In short, we needed to make 'the move,'" Volkmann concluded.

With AMD's new product refresh in the fourth quarter of this year, users will see the beginning of an industry-wide shift to AMD Radeon and AMD FirePro graphics processors.

"The timing couldn't be better, as we just regained the market share lead in discrete graphics, and have launched an unprecedented number of processors and solutions for the professional graphics market. Not to mention that in Q4 of this year, we intend to begin shipping our first AMD Fusion family of APUs, featuring world-class AMD Radeon graphics," AMD's executive said.

"So, all emotion aside, we know this is a solid decision, based on feedback from a large customer base, numerous partners and our own sense of the industry. We hope you agree," he said.

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